Imatges de pÓgina
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xiv.

With her two brothers this fair lady dwelt,

Enriched from ancestral merchandize,
And for them many a weary hand did swelt

In torched mines and noisy factories,
And many once proud-quiver'd loins did melt

In blood from stinging whip;-with hollow eyes
Many all day in dazzling river stood,
To take the rich-ored driftings of the flood.

XV.

For them the Ceylon diver held his breath,

And went all naked to the hungry shark; For them his ears gush'd blood; for them in death

The seal on the cold ice with piteous bark Lay full of darts; for them alone did seethe

A thousand men in troubles wide and dark: Half-ignorant, they turn'd an easy wheel, That set sharp racks at work, to pinch and peel.

xvi.

why were they proud Because their marble founts

Gush'd with more pride than do a wretch's tears?— why were they proud” Because fair orange-mounts

Were of more soft ascent than lazar stairs? Why were they proud! Because red-lined accounts

were richer than the songs of Grecian years why were they proud again we ask aloud, Why in the name of Glory were they proud!

xvii.

Yet were these Florentines as self-retired

In hungry pride and gainful cowardice, As two close Hebrews in that land inspired,

Paled in and vineyarded from beggar-spies; The hawks of ship-mast forests—the untired

And pannier'd mules for ducats and old lies— Quick cat's-paws on the generous stray-away,+ Great wits in Spanish, Tuscan, and Malay.

xviii.

How was it these same ledger-men could spy

Fair Isabella in her downy nest Howeould they find out in Lorenzo's eye

A straying from his toil! Hot Egypt's pest Into their vision covetous and sly

How could these money-bags see east and west Yet so they did—and every dealer fair Must see behind, as doth the hunted hare.

XIX.

O eloquent and famed Boccaccio !

Of thee we now should ask forgiving boon, And of thy spicy myrtles as they blow,

And of thy roses amorous of the moon, And of thy lilies, that do paler grow

Now they can no more hearthy ghittern's tune, For venturing syllables that ill beseem The quiet glooms of such a piteous theme.

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iW. That ancient Beadsman heard the prelude soft; And so it chanced, for many a door was wide, From hurry to and fro. Soon, up aloft, The silver, snarling trumpets ban to chide: The level chambers, ready with their pride, Were glowing to receive a thousand guests: The carved angels, ever eager-eyed, Stared, where upon their heads the cornice rests, With hair blown back, and wings put cross-wise on their breasts. W. At length burst in the argent revelry, With plume, tiara, and all rich array, Numerous as shadows haunting fairily The brain, new stuff d, in youth, with triumphs gay Of old romance. These let us wish away, And turn, sole-thoughted, to one Lady there, Whose heart had brooded, all that wintry day, On love, and wing d St Agnes' saintly care, As she had heard old dames full many times declare.

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X. He ventures in: let no burn'd whisper tell: All eyes be muffled, or a hundred swords Will storm his heart, Love's fev'rous citadel : For him, those chainbers held barbarian hordes, Hyena foemen, and hot-blooded lords, Whose very dogs would execrations howl Against his lineage: not one breast affords Him any mercy, in that mansion foul, Save one old beldame, weak in body and in soul.

xi. Ah, happy chance! the aged creature came, Shuffling along with ivory-headed wand, To where he stood, hid from the torch's flame, Behind a broad hall-pillar, far beyond The sound of merriment and chorus bland: He startled her; but soon she knew his face, And grasp'd his fingers in her palsied hand, Saying, . Mercy, Porphyro' hie thee from this place; They are all here to-night, the whole blood-thirsty race!

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